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How Abbott Laboratories Creates a Healthy Business
Anant Jain left a job at a consumer goods company to work for the finance department of Abbott Laboratories. It was a step that would propel him up the management ranks. Abbott paid for Jain to earn an MBA, including the skills necessary for making financial forecasts. Before long, Jain was ready to move to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to take charge of financial planning for the Middle Eastern region.
Jain’s story is hardly unique. Abbott’s business strategy is based on hiring talented people and helping them develop their careers as they gain skills that increase their value to the company. When new employees join Abbott, the human resources department helps them set short-term goals and map out a career path. Reviews of employees’ performance consider whether the employees are on track. Further development comes from a combination of on-the-job learning, training programs, and support from mentors.
Jain was hired by Abbott’s subsidiary in India, but the commitment to employee growth and development is part of Abbott’s global strategy. The company operates in more than 150 countries. Its industry— medical devices and (outside the United States) pharmaceuticals— undergoes constant change from innovation and regulation. To stay at the forefront of knowledge while remaining profitable in a turbulent industry, Abbott needs a special kind of employee who is flexible, open to change, and committed to excellence. Along with careful hiring and commitment to training, Abbott recruits and retains talent with efforts such as a mentoring program, surveys of employees, and in the United States, aid in translating veterans’ military skills into career related skills relevant to the civilian sector.
1. How could a company such as Abbott benefit from sending an employee to school to study finance or another business subject?
2. How do you think hiring and training could work hand-inhand to help a company such as Abbott meet its business objectives?